Exhibition, 18 Oct 2019 - 23 Feb 2020

Par Hasard

Centre de la Vieille Charité, Marseille, France

From chance to the sublime

He is Victor Hugo's ink stain, the hesitation of an impression of a Degas monotype, a dice roll by Mallarmé, who will never abolish chance. The intoxication of a work of art. Unlike artistic education, the intervention of chance in the creative process of the work allows the artist to free himself from the rules of representation. The accidental, the random, the virtuous discovery, the involuntary sculptures, the drips, the compressions, make emerge a repertoire of free forms leading to the sublime in the uncertainty of the gesture. Substituting itself for the incarnation of God, the hazardous tremor becomes one of the symptomatic components of modernity. This magic of randomness becomes the very subject of an ideal work, brilliant, painted without any intervention of thought. Chance reveals the demiurgical role of the alchemist artist, guided by the serendipity of the chemical reactions of matter. In contrast to the "anartists", some Cartesians invent protocols, entrusting their senses to the anonymous powers of the mathematical method. They use the concept of chance as a scientific framework through which they escape the painter's gestures, creating an ever uncertain, even wobbly geometry. From the task to the pure line, from automatism to mathematics, the exhibition unfolds a chronological typology of chance as a creative process through the most important currents and artists from the second half of the 19th century to the present day.

Organized chronologically, the course will focus on bringing out different techniques thus experimented by the artists: Degas monotypes, Victor Hugo's spots, Wassily Kandinsky's improvisations, Marcel Duchamp's standard stops, Hans Arp's torn papers, Kurt Schwitters' Merz paintings, Man Ray's dust breeding and rayograms, exquisite corpses and surrealist drawings, Brassaï and Salvador Dalí's involuntary sculptures, Max Ernst's rubbing, Oscar Dominguez' decals, Jackson Pollock's dripping, phenomena by Jean Dubuffet, torn posters by Jacques de la Villeglé and François Dufrêne, compressions by César, garbage by Arman, trap paintings by Daniel Spoerri, cosmogonies and anthropometries by Yves Klein, shots by Niki de Saint Phalle, Fluxus games, nuanciers by Gerhard Richter, coloured spectra by Elsworth Kelly, random lines by François Morellet, and random numbers and chance by Aurélie Nemours.

After a stroll through works by Calder, Michel Blazy or Jesus-Rafael Soto presented outdoors in the corridors and courtyard of the Vieille Charité, the exhibition will end in Pierre Puget's Chapel with the presentation of Robert Filliou's installation "Eins, Un. One..." composed of 16,000 coloured dice placed on the same side, echoing Stéphane Mallarmé's poem, "A roll of the dice will never abolish chance".

Police station :
Xavier Rey, Director of the Museums of Marseille
Guillaume Theulière, Assistant Curator of the Director of Museums of Marseille